I'm a neuroscientist and regularly listen to Science Friday and other science programs, so I thought this would be a good listen. It could be, but the reader is so abysmal that it ruins the presentation. He mispronounces words to the point of distraction, often speaks too quickly, and has very little enthusiasm in his voice. The result is dull and trite, which is a shame because the information in the articles is often interesting and timely. Regrettably, until a better reader is hired, I?m canceling my subscription.
This is exactly the type of book that benefits from audio format. Having the reader (the author) pronouce all of the foreign words and phrases in the text adds depth and beauty to a wonderful story. I really liked that the protagonist isn't perfect and makes decisions that he really regrets. It's very poignant and a good contrast to the other masculine personalities contained in the story. It's a great read.
I really liked the premise of this book but didn't feel like it went anywhere. Although it's billed as a "mystery" that "mystery" becomes pretty obvious after the first few chapters. What I found most bothersome is that once the "mystery" is revealed, there is no revolt or outrage, only a quiet resolve and annoying complacency on the part of the main characters. I found that really hard to stomach, especially for a novel that centers around such young protagonists. In most science fiction stories of this nature there is an event that throws the whole system off-kilter, then causing the main characters to question everything and rebuild society. This doesn't happen here and I just keep thinking: why does no one care? It's an intersting read, but not a great one. Other novels do a better job with character development in the face of conflict, and the issues facing future societies.
I really wanted to like this book, but honestly I never got into it. I was hoping that it would be a beautifully crafted tale about a powerful and brave woman in the final decades of the Chinese empire, but instead the narrative was a long, uncompelling tale of unending misery and woe. The story might have been interesting but it was so heavily diluted in painfully, and unfortunately very dull, detail and description of court etiquette and decoration that I could literally feel my mind wandering away while listening. Although the reader pronounces the Chinese words well, she also has a horrible habit of swallowing loudly and often and reads at a painfully slow pace. I got to the point where I was begging for this book to end and then when it finally did, was very unsatisfied with the ending. If you want truly interesting and entertaining stories of Asian culture and the feminist struggle within it, try anything by Amy Tan or Memoirs of a Geisha but pass on this one. Unfortunately it doesn?t live up to expectations.
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